Strategies: Augmented vs Virtual Realities

Preamble

The immersion of enterprises into digital environments and the merging of business and engineering processes are bound to impact traditional approaches to strategic planning.

Outlines & Time-frames (Annette Messager)

A detour into virtual and augmented reality may help to understand how the digital transformation is to affect the ways actual and future circumstances can be assessed and acted upon.

HORIZONS, Spaces, TIME

Strategic planning can be summarily defined as the alignment of two kinds of horizons:

  • External horizons are set on markets, competition, and technologies, with views and anticipations coming through data analytics and game theory.
  • Internal horizons are set on enterprise architectures, with business models and policies on one hand, organization and systems on the other. Both are set on purposes, the former aiming at specificity and edge, the latter at sharing and stability.

How to manage the alignment of controlled enterprise horizons with anticipated external ones

As far as the strategic alignment of means (internal horizons) and ends (external horizons) are concerned, time is of the essence; that’s where is the fault line: whatever enterprise planned time-frames, they can only be mapped to fuzzy or unreliable ones outside. As a corollary, alignments have to be carried out either as a continuum, or through discrete and periodic adjustments to predictive models.

The future begins now

As suggested by Lewis Carroll’s Red Queen, the survival of enterprises in their evolutionary arms race doesn’t depend on their absolute speed set against some universal time-frame but on the relative one set by markets and competitors. Taking into account the role of a reliable and up-to-date basis for decision-making, strategic schemes can be characterized in terms of virtual and augmented reality:

  • Strategies set along predefined time-frames are by construct loosely tied to business environments since discrepancies are bound to develop during the intervals between anticipations (virtual reality) and realizations (actual reality). Hence the need of overall and planned adjustments.
  • By contrast, strategies set dynamically through OODA (observations, orientation, decision, action) loops can be carried out without overall anticipations; like augmented reality (AR) they mix fine-grained data observations and business intelligence with additional layers of information deemed to be relevant.
Seamless integration of operational analytics, business intelligence, and decision-making.
A seamless integration of OODA & Economic Intelligence

The first category has for long been a cornerstone of established strategic planning, with its implicit assumption of a conceptual gap between ‘Here and Now’ and future visions. But the induced latencies and discrepancies may become liabilities if enterprises have to continuously adjust representations and policies.

From Governance DIZZINESS to Strategic Missteps

As self-conscious organisms immersed into competitive environments enterprises survival depends on their awareness of changes.

For mammals such awareness is a biological capability: any discrepancy between perceived movements and their counterpart in the vestibular system is to generate motion sickness or vertigo.

Enterprises have no such built-in mechanism yet their awareness is nonetheless contingent on the alignment of representations with observations and orientations. As a corollary, out-of-kilter time-frames and outdated schemes may remain unnoticed, introducing governance dizziness and strategic missteps.

Obsolete representations (grey) are bound to generate dizziness and missteps

Such drawbacks can be limited with decision-making set along differentiated time-frames, e.g:

  • Operational decisions, to be carried out within processes time-frame (a).
  • Architecture decisions, for changes in assets affecting the design of business processes and supporting platforms (b).
  • Organizational decisions, for changes affecting roles and processes (c).
Weaving fine-grained threads across enterprise architectures and consistent time-frames.

That would allow the weaving of fine-grained policies across enterprise architectures and along consistent time-frames, mixing actual observations, representations of current and planned assets and resources, and anticipations of markets changes a competitors moves.

On that basis strategic alignments would not have to be set at fixed time for overall models, but could be managed continuously, with decision-making finely tuned for targets and timing:

  • External horizons: business decisions could be balanced by the need to know with the reliability of available information.
  • Internal horizons: decisions about organization and systems could be taken at the “last responsible moment”, i.e until not taking side could change the possible options.

Strategic planning could then be defined by crossing these rationales at the relevant granularity.

FURTHER READING


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.